Let me guess, the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of intimacy is sex right?
You’re actually not wrong however, you don’t have the full picture just yet. Sex happens to be one of the four main types of intimacy and not the only form of intimacy.
In simple words, intimacy is a closeness or familiarity that doesn’t have to be romantic. And if you have a close relationship with your parents, friends or colleagues then you have experienced an intimate relationship.
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This means you’re able to be vulnerable and show your true self to people you trust.
You will find this is friendships, relationships and marriages.
And the truth is, it takes time to get there. It is a gradual process that requires patience, trust and good communication. And because of that, many people fear getting into intimate interactions out of childhood experiences, fear of rejection, abandonment issues or not wanting to lose control.
So, whether you want to foster a holistic relationship with your partner or a loved one, here are four types of intimacy you should be aware of:
Emotional intimacy: Engaging in deeper introspective conversations marked with emotions and experiences you would never share with others pretty much sums up emotional intimacy.
Common among couples who have been together for quite some time, they must be comfortable around each other and feel safe enough to open up without fear of judgement or criticism.
This means they can share their candid thoughts, deep secrets, dreams and disappointments in a safe space where they can be heard and understood.
Physical intimacy: This is a love language that doesn’t involve the actual act of sex but a physical display of love towards each other. It has nothing to do with sexual undertones but genuine affection.
It is characterised by actions such as hugging, holding of hands, kissing, cuddling etc and is crucial for a long-lasting relationship.
It releases feelings of pleasure, excitement and brings you closer. A kiss on the cheek in the morning for instance says more than a thousand words.
Such gestures help the other person feel loved and cherished.
Sexual intimacy: When a couple talks about intimacy this is what most of us imagine. Especially if they’re engaging in sex or sensual activities.
This works when it is not forced, it does not feel like a chore and you both derive pleasure from it. For this to thrive you must understand each other’s sexual needs, have good communication where you can share your sexual likes and dislikes and there are no distractions.
Experiential intimacy: Are you the type of couple that has inside jokes and gossip at every given moment? This bond results from shared experiences that draw you closer and can stem from romantic relationships or friendships.
As a couple, doing certain activities together such as cooking, watching a movie or enjoying drives together helps create these deep connections.
You must prioritise spending time as a couple to enjoy collective experiences together or even with the kids.
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